Naruth Kongurai

Path to Software Development without CS Degree

Demands are high for computer science graduates. Software development is a a lucrative career on its own, offering high compensation, requiring lots of skills, and boasting a strong employment rate.

Credit: Pexel

But the chance of becoming a software developer for a person without a computer science degree is slim. But I’m here to encourage you. To tell you don’t need to be a computer science major to land a career as a software developer.

Many (I repeat), many developers of today are do not hold a degree in computer science. Zell, a Singaporean developer who publishes one of the best tutorials and lessons on Javascript, has a background in Finance. Ted Neward, my professor at the University of Washington’s Information School, graduated from university with a degree in International Relations. He has since become a powerful developer, coder, inspirational talker, and teacher who has written numerous books on Java and C#. When you have the will to succeed in something big or something new, nothing can stop you from your attempt to accomplish the goal.

1. The degree that you have is invaluable.

Graduation ceremonyComputer science is all math, science, logic, probabilities, theories, and codes. This is not the case for other majors like communication, marketing, sales, and business.

My professor Ted Neward draws the perfect conclusion on how scientific and non-scientific majors vary: “Non-technical majors (liberal arts) train individuals to think creatively and to expand their potential and knowledge by “defending their position”. Science-based degrees, however, train students that there is only ‘one right answer.‘”

By utilizing your degree, you have what it takes to think and communicate with others about your solutions in a way that computer science major might not be able to.

2. No one is born with a programming skill.

Totally unrelated, yes! But it’s about “practicing” that makes you perfect.Programming is a tough skill to master, yes, but given time and practice, you can excel in the area. Know that the Internet is one of the best tools there ever is. Maybe all you need is for somebody to point you in the right direction. Here’s a good programming book I’d highly recommend. It’s around 200+ pages! The C Programming Language, 2nd Edition — nothing beats this classic programming book that sets standards for many programming languages we come to know today

Are you interested in website development? Here are some recommend sites. freeCodeCamp’s Development Map: Learn to Code — this free structured content allows you to create numerous projects using HTML, CSS, Javascript, React, and even SQL. The Web Developer Bootcamp on Udemy — taught by Colt Steele, one of the most highly rated and reviewed instructor on Udemy. It’s a paid course, but watch out for those discount deals. That’s how I got them for less than what it normally cost. Smashing Magazine — famously known for its articles on website techniques and design principles

Likewise, if you’re interested in mobile development, here’s a few for you. Start Developing iOS Apps (Swift) by Apple — who else would write a Getting Started tutorial besides Apple itself. Make your first official application, a simple food tracker. Code Path’s Android Guides — the volume of resources posted on this GitHub repository alone is insane. But if you’re super curious about what it takes to become a good Android Developer, this is a good place to start. They break down resources based upon your level of experiences.

If you’re the type of person who fills extremely overwhelmed by the number of resources the Internet has to provide, I’m considering writing about the strategies I’ve used to overcome them. Stay tune!

Credit: Pexel

3. There are multiple ways to take you there

Some people become excellent programmers because they love learning new tools and teaching to other people about them. Web Bos, one of my favorite Javascript and React’s instructors on the Internet, is the perfect example.

Others take the alternative route by attending technical bootcamps. If you’re wondering if attending one of these is the right option for you, read this article and also this Reddit article too.

If love a little challenge, try tackling the problems available on coding sites like Leet Code. Sooner or later you will be good at thinking and solving problems the way Computer Scientist do. Besides, succeeding in technical interviews is one of the most challenging things all software developers must face before becoming one.

Lastly, don’t forget to display and demonstrate your talent through popular sites like GitHub and LinkedIn. They are one of the two most important things that recruiters often ask for, besides your resume of course.

GitHub is one of the most useful places you can host your projects online privately or publicly for others to collaborate and see your work.

4. Believe in your abilities and be ready to demonstrate that to your future employers.

You must realize that your future employer looks for your mindset and abilities to think differently and bring about value and diversity to the team. The fact that you came from a different background is already an indicator of diversity, and if you’re able to exemplify or demonstrate why you’re that perfect fit to your future employer, I assure you that you will be in great shape going forward.

Remember that employers have feelings too. And if they can sense that fire of passion blazing in you, there’s a good chance you are the right type of candidate they are looking for.

I wish my readers good luck in landing that first (or second, or third!) software developer role. Feel encourage. Keep that passion going. Never stop learning.

This post was published on 31 Jan 2018

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